Do you sabotage relationships? Are you always in victim mode or thinking someone is out to get you. Are you constantly talking about your “haters” and mixing it with scripture, motivational quotes and other mood boosting sayings to just be able to put them all in a little box of “They just hate me because I’m great?”.
While many may think this is a sign of being strong and empowered, it can actually be a sign of low self-esteem in adult women. Often as women we announce we are healed from our pasts prematurely. And as long as there aren’t any monkey wrenches in our lives, we can convince ourselves of such. But when we claim wholeness too soon, we often find ourselves getting into “Fake Fighter Mode” aka “I’m a victim again. It couldn’t be me, it has to be them”, for the rest of our lives.
Have you ever as an adult felt someone didn’t like you but had no basis for it? Like when you really sat down and thought about it you could not say specifically or pinpoint any direct thing that lead you to think that. Do you find that you completely ignore your role in any situation and only focus on what they did? Here is an example:
Lisa volunteers at a non-profit with a group of about 12 women. Her husband travels a lot and Lisa doesn’t drive so her mother drops her off in the mornings and she rides home in the afternoon with another volunteer names Melissa who lives a street over from her. Melissa is a member of the group who is like the designated “event planner” of the group. Every Thursday there is a meeting and Melissa arrives and sets up the conference room and arranges all the materials, refreshments etc. Melissa sets up everyone’s seat with a folder of details to discuss. She knows everyone’s coffee preference and muffin choice by heart and sets them up accordingly. Melissa doesn’t set up Lisa’s spot. She used too when she first came on board but now she doesn’t. Lisa has told her husband and mother and anyone who would listen that Melissa is mad with her or secretly doesn’t like her and potentially jealous of her for some reason.
What Lisa doesn’t tell them is that she is late every day. She is usually 30-45 minutes late to be exact. Melissa is not late because her mother drops her off late. Her mother lives 10 minutes away and comes at the time Lisa calls and never realizes that Lisa is actually late when she drops her off. Melissa doesn’t set up her spot because once she noticed she was always late and was arriving to cold coffee and a muffin that had been outside of the warming container and exposed to the room, so she leaves her spot empty so she can fix her own refreshments so everything is fresh. Melissa greets Lisa, gives her a ride and they even occasionally do some side shopping before dropping her off after the meetings. Get the idea?
Do you have that friend who spins every tail and they never have fault in anything? You probably often catch them in a mistruth here and there. You ask the same question on different days or different ways and somehow the story changes. And they don’t even realize they are saying something different. Because they have your ear and they are auditioning for the role of victim. They don’t seem to realize that they are being typecast. They only see their life as one dimensional. They claim to be the VICTOR but ideally they really are still a victim. As long as you don’t have access to verify the information, they are always faultless in the story. They are being victimized. But as soon as you can connect A to B and C to D, they shut down? It’s then either none of your business and they no longer want to share or talk about it?
Or maybe it’s the friend (or family member) who is always at odds with someone and as long as you are in agreement with them and their actions everything is wonderful. They need that validation from someone to thrive. But as soon as they misstep and you advise them that “you were wrong for doing that”, then you get mixed together in the big bowl of “HATERS”.
I beware of people who are always getting a “vibe” from people and situations. That’s usually my first clue to run. Because their “VIBE” system never seems to alert them to the people, men, or other negative relationships they seem to always find themselves in but every woman is out to get them. They will be sensitive to everything and everyone and need too much constant reinforcement. Yes we all like a good genuine compliment every now and again but they will need them all the time. They need you to like that selfie (which I remember reading once that is another sign of low self-esteem). They need to share every accomplishment so someone will give them kudos. But they will post every meme about not caring about what people think to enforce what they really don’t believe themselves.
Constantly having unrealistic narratives for your relationships can lead to feelings of depression or anxiety and false perceptions of how people feel about you. It almost becomes a form of reverse bullying, where you are constantly creating a nest of negativity from what you perceive as dislike from someone else and either approach them or tell others, therefore spreading the infestation that really stems from your childhood. You have built this protection wall that adds a brick every time you feel attacked. And let’s be clear, there WILL be people who don’t like you. That is life. But you have to know that everyone who goes along on your agreement train doesn’t necessarily like you or have your best interest at heart either. You have to learn to discern which is which but do not confuse discernment with
confusion. If you are always telling yourself you are not worthy behind closed doors, it will surely cultivate into outwardly actions and behavior to others. If you feel like you are unlovable, you will always think your husband or boyfriend has settled for you or not happy with you no matter how many rings, baubles, purses or trips he gives you.
Don’t just tell yourself you are awesome. Actually feel awesome. This is where you need Foundational Empowerment. If your foundation is not firm and you convince yourself that you are READY FOR THE WORLD, then you will start to see cracks and crumbles. Your self-esteem will shift every time there is a strong wind (or personality). Your termites (alleged haters) will create an infestation in your thinking, your mindset and your reactions. And you will never look at why you built your home (mind) on quicksand. You will conveniently leave that out of the equation. You saw someone walking past and put that duct tape and glue on your bricks just so you could appear strong and solidly built (healed) until they went past and then you told yourself that just because they didn’t admire your red bricks that they must be jealous of your bricks.
You may have a friend who does the most harmful things to your relationship and always expects things to go back to normal and for you to forgive and forget. At some point you either decide to cut them off or you learn to deal with them at a distance. As you get older you realize some people are so damaged that their version of love is just different so you learn to deal with them on that level. You learn what to say and what not to say, when not to get involved. You basically become a hostage enabler. You know they mean no harm but they simple don’t know how to show it. They are stuck. And sometimes you have to love them right where they are. They keep you on permanent eggshells because you feel like you are one opinion from them spiraling out of control. So you don’t point out that their new boyfriend sucks. 🙂 You just smile and keep it moving.
But for the most part if you are that person – Stop it! Get out of victim mode. It’s ok to be broken as long as you are working towards healing. The problem comes when you don’t acknowledge it and continue to smooth sugar over it. You never want to secretly stay in a place of brokenness, while portraying the outwardly face of Survivor. If you grew up in dysfunction and all you knew from 2-20 was negative, people getting over, people doing people wrong (including you) and you never work on not letting that materialize in your life it will surely manifest itself in other ways. You can’t harbor reminders of your past to the point of completely altering your handling of relationships. Nor can you not acknowledge that you have no positive role models. You can’t self-consciously seek out relationships only with people who are equally stalled in their healing who you feel you have a shared experience with when there is no growth. No room for correction. No room for healing. No change.
Self-love starts within and it’s a process. Even more so when you come from a place of non-experience in your early years. But don’t mistake self-love for bravado. Don’t jump out there with a superhero cape on when you really need a hug. Don’t marinate in the past. Learn from it and be better because of it but don’t cover it and ignore it either. Evaluate your relationships. Identify your haters- and then make sure you aren’t the biggest one. #loveyourself
CWM recently asked on Facebook “Can you truly heal from childhood/past hurts without some form of therapy? The overwhelming response was No. Many felt therapy was an integral part of their recovery or on-going healing. But there were some No’s with options such as Faith being a step toward healing. What do you think? Discuss in comments below.